The good, the bad & the ugly

It’s been a tough, bad week…

  • Landslide in south east Bangladesh after a cyclone, killing over 150 people!! (there are so many lives always at risk in Bangladesh because there is no money for water, storm and flood management infrastructure);
  • Republican congress staff shot at & wounded in Washington (hatred is encouraged nowadays with divisive rhetoric and when will something be done about gun laws? I don’t see how MORE people carrying concealed guns solves anything);
  • And an awful fire in the Grenfell Tower apartment building in west London (30 known dead but probably more to follow; could the reason for this deadly fire spreading so quickly be negligence by the owners?).Paper Fortune Teller

And then yesterday I met a young woman from Ivory Coast with an ugly story. She is only 19 years old, still a girl really, with not much known about her, she is very reticent. She somehow came to The Netherlands and was forced into prostitution (whether here or already back in Ivory Coast, I don’t know). She has now found refuge at a shelter and has a 2 week old baby… father unknown… She’s had little education, has only been to primary school and says she can read and write. She mentioned losing her mum some years ago and something about brothers with ‘hunger belly’ some time ago.  What awfulness has she seen in her 19 years? Why are many men’s actions so ruled by their di**s that they need to exploit and use (vulnerable) women? What future is there for this Ivory Coast girl? And for her absolutely beautiful 2 week old daughter who I got to hold for quite a while? When asked how she felt about becoming a mum she said, she was happy, “at least I am not alone anymore”. She has no idea what to do, where to go, whether she even can or will stay in The Netherlands… She is overwhelmed by life and she’s a new mum all on her own at that. The shelter she is living in is filled with young women who have stories like her’s. Needless to say, I have been preoccupied with this young woman and her tiny daughter for the past 24 hours…

With all this bad and ugliness I have put myself off writing about anything good, although I will try. There were some new Richard Armitage pics this past week that are good and that I really like (especially the one of the two bearded men, lovely smiles there!)…

… and a picture of Richard and Rhys Ifans in action during filming which is nice too. There is also a new selfie that Richard tweeted for Cybersmile’s stop cyberbullying day (an admirable goal)…

Everyone is gushing about this new selfie being so wonderful and I just keep on thinking, “what am I missing?” To me, Richard looks off in this… something about his mouth, his hint of a smile, feels very posed and not real… his face looks a little plastic too, reminds me a bit of one of those wax dolls at Madame Tussaud’s. I really love this man, but I’m just not one to gush over every image of him, I guess. Or maybe I’m just in too much of a bad and ugly nitpicking mood after this week to appreciate the good? I know we must keep on battling bad and ugly with good; I really do try that and I know Richard tries to do that with this Cybersmile thing (and no, me criticizing this image is not cyberbullying), but sometimes it all just feels so hopeless…

More fangirling in London!

Well, not only fangirling, we mostly did touristy stuff… As I already blogged about in my previous post, my 15 year old son and I were in London this past weekend and what a lovely time we had!

We went inside Tower Bridge and walked on the glass floor there, looking down!

My son was fearless about that and while I did do it briefly, I found it scary. But I did it – yay me! We also saw the engine room…

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… and when we finished our tour, we were greeted by a cannon salute across the river!

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OK, so the salute wasn’t for us but for the Queen’s 91st birthday. Still, we felt honoured. 🙂

We passed through Westminster…

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… and went on to Portobello Road in Notting Hill…

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… which was also a bit of fangirling for me as it reminded me of the lovely movie Notting Hill. The Notthing Hill thing was a spontaneous idea; if I had thought of it sooner, I would have researched it better and would have fangirled my way to Hugh Grant’s front door from that movie.

That evening my son and I went to see The Lion King musical, which we both very much enjoyed (we had a good view from the front row of the Grand Circle)…

While we were walking to the theatre, we passed by Covent Garden and walked by a street artist/comedian getting ready to do his thing. The street artist looked straight at my son and in his microphone announced “Ah, there we have Justin Bieber”! I had to laugh and the whole crowd turned to look at my son as we scurried along and my son turned beet-red! He has been compared to a younger Justin Bieber before and he hates it… I know I’m probably an awful mother but I have ribbed him about this incident regularly and in hindsight he now also has started seeing some of the humour in it.  He still insists he looks nothing like Bieber, though. 🙂

We shopped a bit in Oxford Street and also met up with fellow Richard Armitage fan Hariclea from the Opera is Magic blog on Saturday afternoon! We met at “Fortnum and Mason” and had ice cream ‘coupes’ at the ice cream parlour on the first floor! Beautiful, delicious, filled our stomachs right up! So much so, that my son felt a little sick there for a moment! Luckily he recovered quickly. It’s always a delight to see Hari and it was so much fun that I forgot to take pictures of our beautiful ice cream creations! The only picture I took was of two teacups priced at £145,- while waiting for Hari…

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Hari and I may have mentioned Richard Armitage a few times in passing but didn’t get too carried away in the presence of my son. That evening, as Hari went off to the theatre, my son and I went to see the Scarlett Johannson scifi movie Ghost in the Shell in a Leicester Square theatre with a truly huge screen. The movie was not the greatest scifi movie I’d ever seen, but it was quite fun and had nice visual effects.

We spent our Sunday on Hampstead Heath. We walked there for a bit, my son even climbed a tree…

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… we got up to Kenwood House (also a Notting Hill film location, by the way!)…

… and treated ourselves to some delicious scones (this had been something my son had particularly wished for).

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Later that afternoon we made our way back to the airport and flew home again. But I didn’t leave London without some specific fangirl items!

I’ve bought a DVD of a Gregory Peck movie I came across that I have always wanted to see but have never been able to…

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I’m not that much into Westerns but, come on, it’s Gregory Peck, my first real teenage fangirl crush!

At Kenwood House I bought the book Belle that accompanies the excellent movie of the same name, about a black young lady who lived as a lady and not as a servant in Kenwood House in the 18th century. She was also featured in a painting that was painted at the time but alas that painting is not at Kenwood anymore and is now somewhere in Scotland. I had seen the film, I now saw the book and grabbed it for myself…

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And, I did some more Jane Eyre fangirling when, in a bookstore, I happend upon a book with this title…

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I immediately recognized it as the first sentence from the last chapter of Jane Eyre and just had to have it, especially considering we will be visiting writer Charlotte Brontë’s house this coming summer.

Last but not least, there was Audrey Hepburn fangirling as well! I came across this POP doll of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s  and just couldn’t let it go…

So, yes, London is a great place to fangirl; it makes me feel greedy when I see all these goodies together even though they all didn’t cost that much. London is also a great place to spend time with my son! He picked out pretty much all our activities (Portobello Road and meeing Hari were my picks, the rest were his) and I loved that one-on-one time with him. I think that, except for my snoring at night, he enjoyed his time with me as well. We’ll definitely be back!

Fangirling in London!

My son had a one-day (!!) class trip to London today. They left at midnight last night by bus to Calais, then ferry to Dover, then bus to London. They spent all day traipsing through the city and this evening the class goes back to the Netherlands but my son doesn’t… You see, I flew in to London this afternoon…

Leaving The Netherlands…

Entering England…

… and met my son this evening! While his friends have a long journey back all night, he has the luxury of sleeping in a bed here in my brother’s house. We’re having some mama & son time here in this great city, flying back home again on Sunday!

My visit here started well: I did some fangirling this afternoon while I was on my own – I walked by Emma Thompson’s house! She lives not far from where my brother lives in London and I just couldn’t resist. A nice, unassuming house in the middle of a row of houses. Very quiet street too… and no, Emma Thompson did not magically appear. I didn’t want to linger or stalk or anything, so after a quick look I walked on. It’s just nice to get a quick glimpse of how one of my fave actresses lives!

Some more fangirling when I saw this bag of one of my fave books in a bookstore…

… and this sign made me think of Richard Armitage in North and South when he mentions ‘Arkwright’s invention’

I love fangirling in London!

(This is my first time ever blogging on my phone… fingers crossed…)

Good is going to win…

My thoughts have been with London since Wednesday, after the horrible attack there. My brother works around the corner from where that attack happened. He was in Paris that day for business but his colleagues were all sent home early after the attack. What insantity makes a person do this? I can never fathom that someone becomes so deluded he starts murdering people at random. And I also wonder how people pitted against each other in hatred fuels this… the current right-wing, fear-mongering political climate is not helpful in that regard either, I feel…

It’s been a busy week for me. I started my new job a week and a half ago and while I am really enjoying it and am off to a good start, I am also exhausted. New duties, figuring out how things work, getting a hang of how stuff is organized, adjusting, learning new things, trying to remember new names and new faces and preferably matching them as well – it’s exhausting. A dear ex-coworker of mine has become my new co-worker once again and I am loving that too (even though I don’t see her that much, we each have our own thing to do). But I’m exhausted…

So, now the weekend has started and I find some heartwarming things to help me unwind. There is this shot from Brain on Fire

Richard Armitage Brain on Fire shorts

There’s something so endearing seeing a caring Richard Armitage in shorts like that. Nice legs too!

I also like Richard’s tweet responses to the London attack, tweeting pictures without words and the quote he posted…

RA reaction to London attack tweets

Then this evening on the BBC there’s Comic Relief. To be honest, most of the show was lame, but it also had Red Nose Day Actually, which showed us where some of the characters of my beloved movie Love Actually are at now, 14 years later…

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Colin Fiirth was in it too! Still married to his Portugese wife and still adorably baffled by the language he just can’t seem to be able to get a handle on… he remains so cute!

And then there was the highlight of a little speech Hugh Grant gives as PM to the press. It may have been a little corny but it was also touching and very topical too…

Hugh Grant Red Nose Day Actually

“I’m optimistic, wherever you see tragedy, you see bravery too, where you see ordinary people in need, you see extraordinary ordinary people come to their aid. Today is Red Nose Day and people are giving their hard earned cash to people who they’ll never meet but whose pain and fear they feel and want to fight. So it’s not just romantic love that is all around, most people still every day have enough love in their heart to help human beings in trouble. Good is going to win. I’m actually sure of it.”

So, I’m heading off to bed now, really hoping PM Hugh is right and that Good really is going to win in this world… I just wish for it sooner rather than later.